The Vermont Women’s Fund Introduces Free Map Feature of This Way UP to Help Vermonters Find and Support Women-Owned Businesses
Today, the Vermont Women’s Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation is unveiling a new mapping feature of their innovative This Way UP: there’s power in our numbers (This Way UP) tool that allows users to search through the more than 2,500 women-owned businesses by name, town, and industry. The filtering feature is designed for people who want to support women-owned enterprises throughout the state but did not have a way to find them.
“October is National Women’s Small Business Month, making it a great time for women to get their businesses on the map, and for the rest of us to be able to find and support woman-owned enterprises in our communities,” says Meg Smith, director of the Vermont Women’s Fund. “We are thrilled with this new mapping feature, and hope Vermonters will join us in supporting women who are running businesses, large and small, across our state.”
This Way UP is the Vermont Women’s Fund’s initiative to count and identify women business owners and leaders in the state, with the goal of providing missing economic data about the number, size, and scope of Vermont’s female founders and what they might need to succeed and grow. Data is gathered through a website and survey with questions about business funding, life experiences, and what they need individually for greater success. Results are aggregated in real-time and accessible on the website.
According to national data sources, 42 percent of all U.S. businesses are owned by women. In Vermont, data on women’s business ownership is rare or absent. The Vermont Women’s Fund launched This Way UP in late 2021 to rectify that, and to give women entrepreneurs an opportunity to share their location and website along with stories about why they went into business and what they need to thrive. To date, over 2,500 businesses have been identified and counted. Business leaders are also asked to take the survey and to date, over 75 women who run companies and nonprofits are represented. More than 1,000 respondents are serial entrepreneurs, having owned more than one business in their careers. In total, they:
- Generate over $2 billion in revenues annually
- Create over 5,000 full- and part-time jobs in our state
- 96 percent give back to charities and/or nonprofits
“The Vermont Women’s Fund embarked on this first-of-its-kind project to make visible what has been invisible until now,” adds Smith. “One look at the map and you see how vital women-owned businesses are to Vermont’s economy. And women-owned businesses give back—research from the United Nations shows that 90 percent of a woman’s income goes back into their community. That’s good news for Vermont.”
To explore the interactive map and find women’s businesses you can support, visit thiswayupvt.com. All women who generate income by owning or running a business of any size are invited to take the survey at thiswayupvt.com.